"Lemony Snicket, who became known for challenging listeners' vocabularies in his Series of Unfortunate Events, chooses 13 seemingly random words and arranges them into the story of a "despondent" bird and a dog who tries to cheer his friend by visiting a "haberdashery" to buy a hat with "panache." Michael Emerson's intonations and phrasing allow listeners to picture characters and settings even without Maira Kalman's illustrations. He encourages listeners to savor the sounds of words as the author intended. Who wouldn't buy a hat from a breathy sales-baby who describes "panache" as "a kind of verve or swagger"? In an amazing artistic interpretation, Snicket's final word, "mezzo-soprano," becomes an opera of the book, created by real-life composer Nico Muhly. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"